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Archive for the ‘Child care’ Category

Congresswoman Lori Trahan; Pat Nelson, Executive Director of the Concord Children’s Center; Amy O’Leary, Early Education for All Campaign Director at Strategies for Children. Photo: Eric Stein

 

“I was honored to speak briefly at the Kathy Reticker Forum’s screening of No Small MatterThe film addressed the question ‘Why, when the importance of quality early care is so widely accepted and known, do we continue to fail so many children?’

“It is an important question to ask. Our children are America’s most valuable resource, yet across our country, too many families don’t have access to high-quality, affordable early learning and care that will help them thrive without breaking the bank. Programs like Head Start and grants like Child Care and Development Block Grants (CCDBG) are investments that bring real and positive results to our communities. That’s why I fight hard in Congress to support and grown them. These programs have a proven track record of success in Massachusetts and around the country, and are exactly the type of investments our federal government should be making when it comes to the children and families that are most in need.

“I’m also proud to be working on a number of other pieces of legislation like the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act, which dramatically expands access to quality, affordable child care for all families. Congress can and must make progress on this important issue. There’s work to be done.”

 

– U.S. Representative Lori Trahan (D-MA 3rd District)

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Retired Brigadier Generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas. Photo courtesy of Mission:Readiness.

 

Retired Brigadier Generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas came to Boston earlier this month to talk about the link between child care and the military – and about the findings in a new, related report, “Child Care and National Security: How greater access to high-quality child care in Massachusetts can help improve military readiness.”

The upshot: high-quality child care is a key ingredient in preparing children to become successful adults who could serve in the military. But right now, most of this state’s potential military candidates could not join the armed forces because of poor health, limited educational attainment, and histories of illegal activities.

“If a basic part of the population, 70 percent roughly [in Massachusetts], cannot pass a simple entrance exam,” Pappas says in an NECN interview, “you have a recruiting problem.” (more…)

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“This lack of affordable quality child care is a crisis for American families. In 35 states, families pay more for child care than for mortgages, and in no state does the average cost of infant or toddler care meet the federal definition of affordable. On a per-capita basis, we spend roughly six times less on education for infants and toddlers than we do on K-12. This shortchanges our children exactly when the potential benefit is greatest.

“We know from breakthroughs in neuroscience that children’s brains are growing explosively during the first three years of life — developing more than one million neural connections a second. A child’s early brain architecture shapes all future learning and behavior. This is also the period in our lives when we are most vulnerable to trauma.”

“If we care about equal opportunity in this country, we must provide more funding for infants and toddlers.”

“So where do we start?

Six months of paid parental leave is the first step… The second step is improving compensation for early-childhood educators so that they earn the same as schoolteachers…”

“How to End the Child-Care Crisis: A child’s first 1,000 days are a time to be seized,” by By Shael Polakow-Suransky, president of the Bank Street College of Education, The New York Times, May 24, 2019

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The working world has a big hole. It’s an empty space where child care should be.

That’s the core message of a new report — “High-Quality Early Child Care: A Critical Piece of the Workforce Infrastructure” — from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

“For the most part, contemporary policies and the modern economy necessitate that all parents work and yet, early child care is not part of the workforce infrastructure,” the report says.

“Current options for licensed early child care exert serious limits on parental work.”

This means parents are “on their own,” combing through a child care system with high costs, limited access, and varying degrees of quality.

“The market is mostly private, where parents bear the costs of paying for child care and providers may need to compromise on quality—as indicated by persistently low child care worker wages—in order to make child care affordable for parents.” (more…)

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Moms, dads, toddlers, and babies from all 50 states came to the Washington, D.C., this week for Strolling Thunder.

During this annual event, families meet with members of Congress to talk about making child care more affordable, expanding paid family leave, and increasing funding for health care and early education.

“As parents, we must advocate, communicate and collaborate with all agencies serving and caring for our babies,” said Anna Akins, a Strolling Thunder parent from Louisiana, says in a press release from Zero to Three, the national nonprofit that organizes the event, which is part of the Think Babies campaign. “Our babies’ lives are depending on our voices. Let us continue to speak up and out about the importance of all things that help our babies thrive.” (more…)

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“The country is finally having a serious conversation about how best to care for children during their first five years before they enter school. What is missing from that conversation, however, is an acknowledgement of the abysmal conditions of many of our child care facilities and a commitment to fixing the problem. Parents should be able to leave their children in child care with the understanding that they are in safe and healthy learning environments that support their development — and this is just not happening.

“Luckily for these families, some states are starting to recognize the link between quality of facilities and quality of care.”

 

“Child care is infrastructure. We should treat it that way,” an opinion piece by Linda K. Smith, Roll Call, March 25, 2019

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh met a child care need last month at the third annual African-American Veterans Appreciation Brunch. Mayor’s Office Photo by Isabel Leon, posted on Mayor Walsh’s Flickr page.

 

Boston continues to lead the way on early childhood policy. Knowing that local, accurate, early childhood data is essential for program planning but often nonexistent, city officials are taking proactive steps to collect this data through the annual city census. Boston is asking parents to fill out a survey to explain their child care arrangements and challenges, as well as their family needs relating to language and disabilities.

The answers “will help inform a policy that works for all.”

The survey website provides more context, adding:

“For the first time ever, the City of Boston has added an optional survey to its annual citywide census. We’re hoping to better understand how people and households across Boston relate to language and disability. We also want to learn about how families access and experience care for their children ages five and under.”

Boston will be the first community in Massachusetts to collect child care information in its municipal census. (more…)

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